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India Approves Second Homegrown Vaccine


A health worker administers the vaccine for COVID-19 in Mumbai, India, Aug. 19, 2021.

Authorities in India have approved the emergency use of a second locally developed vaccine, while British drugmaker AstraZeneca unveiled a new antibody therapy to fight COVID-19.

India’s latest vaccine, developed by Indian pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila, is the world's first DNA-based inoculation against the coronavirus. The vaccine uses a section of genetic material from the virus to instruct cells to make a specific protein to which the immune system can respond.

The three-dose vaccine has been approved for use in adults as well as children 12 and older. It is the sixth vaccine to be approved in India, including another locally developed vaccine by Indian firm Bharat Biotech.

Also Friday, drugmaker AstraZeneca released data from a late-stage trial for a new antibody therapy, showing it reduced the risk of people developing any COVID-19 symptoms by 77%. The company said the therapy can be used preventatively and could be particularly helpful to people who respond poorly to immunization shots. It said that 75% of the participants in the trial had chronic conditions, including some with a lower immune response to vaccinations.

In South Africa, officials opened vaccine eligibility to all adults as they sought to protect the population from a surge fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.

Sri Lanka began a 10-day lockdown on Friday in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The nation recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll of 187 on Wednesday.

In Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett received a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, as the country began administering additional shots to people ages 40 and older to combat an increase in coronavirus infections.

The United States on Friday extended the closure of its land borders with Canada and Mexico for nonessential travel through September 21. The move comes despite Canada’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans.

Officials in San Francisco Friday began a program of requiring proof of full vaccination against the coronavirus before entering indoor restaurants, gyms and concert halls. The city is the first major U.S. metropolitan area to require full vaccination at such venues and goes further than a New York rule, which requires people to be at least partially vaccinated to attend many indoor activities.

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